I truly believe that being different is a great thing. As the years have gone by, I've come to the realization that the best and most recognized individuals in their chosen fields are the ones who are aware of what everyone else is doing and choose to purposely go in the opposite direction wholeheartedly and consistently, constantly in a state of reinvention.
Think about Prince, Michael Jackson, Miles Davis, Michael Jordan, Michael Phelps, Tiger Woods, and Muhammad Ali. There are countless others, but the individuals listed above did things that weren't considered normal. They were bold enough to try things their way and oppose the normalcy of fitting in. What do they all have in common? They either were, or still are, considered the greatest in their field of expertise. It's a simple concept on the surface. The difficult for most people is overcoming the fear of what may come as a result of being you, being different.
It took me awhile to come this realization. In fact, I didn't truly come to this conclusion until after having recorded Emotions. I feel that I was still "playing it safe" to a certain extent. It didn't take me long to get tired of doing what everyone expects. When I started working on RETROSPECT, and even the months leading up to recording, I made the decision to start creating my own path and stick with it. Now, I purposely place myself in uncomfortable positions that require me to step out of areas of normalcy. The most important thing, however, is that I remain true to myself. I don't aspire to be like anyone. I don't want to follow in anyone's footsteps. I unapologetically move in the opposite direction of the masses knowing that in due time there will be no other option but for people to accept me as I am.
If you are dealing with the obstacle of fear as it pertains to simply being yourself, I encourage you to do it anyway. You were put on this earth for a specific purpose, and the fulfillment of that purpose will require you at some point to come to terms with yourself. Be yourself, come hell or high water, and choose to live out your life, not someone else's picture of what they think you ought to be. Have the courage to make your own path.